One of the most crucial talents in a Cat build is King of the Jungle. Without that extra 60 Energy every 30 seconds, you can pretty much forget about being competitive. It's just not going to happen.
Most Bear builds skip right over this talent. Bears generally tend to avoid using Enrage during combat because dishing out an extra 15% damage for 10 seconds isn't worth the trade-off of also taking 10% more damage. At least not in the current content cycle where the main source of making encounters tricky for healers is to hit the tank hard and fast.
The exception, of course, is having your 4pc T10 bonus. Now you have another mini-Barkskin on an identical cooldown. And it's awesome. Enrage all the time!
What I never considered before (because I've never been good with theoreticals¹ until I have a practical application to consider them against) is that while KotJ may not be the best Bear talent in most cases, if you're filling the role of an off-tank on any fights where your tanking skills may not be required for the entire fight (Rotface until a Big Ooze forms, Festergut when you're not tanking, Sindragosa Phase 1, LK Phase 2 and 3, etc.) having this talent can push you from the ranks of kinda-contributing-a-non-consequential-amount-of-DPS to I'd-be-kicking-that-mage's-ass-if-I-was-in-my-DPS-gear.
With the new talent tree design, the only potentially significant dps contribution talent a Cat is likely to have that a Bear won't is Blood in the Water. And that really only counts in the latest stages of a fight. So you can still rip out a pretty significant chunk of a boss's health.
I came to this realization last night on Festergut. At the end fight I checked the damage meters and was surprised to see that I had landed solidly in 2nd place and was challenging our uber-Mage for first. Now, granted, Vengeance and 8 stacks of Gastric Bloat played no small part in this. But it's also worth noting that I was DPSing in Cat form for less than half the fight, I burned a few GCDs on Cower, and Vengeance doesn't apply when in Cat form, so that was only helping out while I was tanking.
Even with Gastric Bloat, I used to end up a (very) distant 6th on DPS in that fight. But since I was able to mimic my normal cat rotation (because my current Bear spec does include KotJ) I fell just short of 11k and 1st place in output.
We'll be working on Sindragosa tomorrow. I know what I used to be able to do against her. I'm anxious to see the difference now.
With Cata around the corner, I'm starting to look at KotJ as a Bear talent in a new light. While I still won't plan on using Enrage very often while in Bear form, it will give me more versatility in the way I contribute to a raid. I'll be able to fill that niche that Ferals were meant to fill, being able to both Tank and DPS without spec swaps. Yeah, I won't put up the same numbers I do when I'm actually in my Cat spec and gear. But they'll be a lot higher than they were before.
¹ : Yes, it's a word. Because it's my blog and I say so.
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